Dr. Michele Borba answered:
Here are tips to help your child make new friends and feel more comfortable fitting into that social scene from The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries.
Get acquainted with other parents. Getting to know parents of your child's potential friends is often a great way to invite the families over, giving your child the opportunity to have a new playmate. Also, introduce yourself to the neighbors: sometimes our kid's best friends can be literally next-door. Find out who amongst your work colleagues has children: it's a way to learn not only about available kid activities, but also to arrange play dates for younger children or find a babysitter.
Find outlets that attract peers. Look for opportunities for your child to meet kids anywhere or elsewhere—for example, scouting, park and recreation programs, Boys and Girls Clubs, YMCAs, church groups, sports teams, library programs, after-school programs, or other youth groups. Your goal is to help your kids find ways to meet new kids.
Seek activities that match your child's interests. The trick is to match activities with your child's strengths and interests. Then provide lessons and help him practice so his confidence grows and hopefully he can use the new skill to meet new kids. Meeting kids with the same interests raises the chances of going from acquaintance to friend. That's because kids who share the same interests are more likely to want to be together.
Help your kid blend in. Clothes, hair-cuts, shoes styles, and accessories really do matter in helping kids gain peer approval and each community has their own unique culture. One way to find out "what's in" is to ask parents for the name of a popular kid clothing store. Then go there and talk to the salesperson and ask: "What are the kids (your child's age) buying this year?" You don’t have to break the bank but is there one thing you can buy your kid so he blends into the social scene and feels more comfortable?
Teach friendship-making skills. Does your child need a tune-up in friendship making? If so, choose a few skills that would help your child make new friends. Top friendship-making skills are: Making introductions, Starting conversations, Explaining who you are and what you like, Listening, Inviting someone over, and Saying goodbye. Learning new skills takes practice so role-play one new skill at a time as often as it takes for your child to be comfortable using it on his own.Find out more about this book: The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenge...Here are tips to help your child make new friends and feel more comfortable fitting into that social scene from The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries.Get acquainted with other parents.... More
Dr. Lynne Kenney answered:
Here are a few tips on helping your children develop their friendship skills.
- As young as age four you can begin to help your child discover his or her personal style. What kind of child is yours? Help her see that she is bright, funny, articulate, caring or thoughtful. Teach her how to recognize positive social skills in others so she chooses skillful friends who are likely to share her values.
- In order to help your child see when she is using prosocial friendship skills, comment specifically on what your child does in her friendships that shows she cares: “When Jose hurt his arm and you offered to sit with when he could not play, that was a kind thing to do.”
- Teach your child to observe the behavior of others non-judgmentally in a manner that helps her to see how other people behave. Talk with her about how other people respond to that behavior.
- As your child gets older help her develop the ability to observe the impact of her behavior on others.
- Giving your children the words and actions to: a. enter into and exit social groups, b. include other people in their group and c. recognize what characteristics your child wants in his or her friends is invaluable.
Talk with your children about what makes a good friend. Write a short story or a book on what one does to show respect, integrity and honesty. If there is a school-mate who criticizes others or mocks others, that is not a friend you wish for your child to choose as a close mate. Draw distinctions between kids who are willing to lift one another up and those who desire to feel powerful by cutting others down.Here are a few tips on helping your children develop their friendship skills. As young as age four you can begin to help your child discover his or her personal style. What kind of child is yours? Help her see that she is bright, funny,... More